It’s Friday and the weekend forecast calls for snow here in Edgewater, Maryland. With that in mind, here’s a frosty photo and poem.
Senior scientist and avid photographer Chuck Gallegos took this wintry image of the Contee Mansion. The ruins are part of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). SERC officially acquired the property in 2008. We’re now working to stabilize the structure and prepare it for future use. Archeologists have guided volunteers in past research excavations. More digs will take place once the weather warms up. Eventually the ruins will be part of an interpretive trail that explores the history and ecology of the old farm.
Now for the poem. This month marked what would have been Emily Dickinson’s 179th birthday. The Massachusetts native had a rich education in science and natural history at what is now known as Amherst College. Many of her poems are infused with her botanical knowledge. Dickinson had her own herbarium and flowers are a reoccurring subject of her work. You won’t find any petals or stems in this winter poem.
The Sky is low – the Clouds are mean.
A Travelling Flake of Snow
Across a Barn or through a Rut
Debates if it will go –
A Narrow Wind complains all Day
How some one treated him
Nature, like Us is sometimes caught
Without her Diadem.
— by Emily Dickinson
You can read more about Emily Dickinson and her education in science and natural history at The Poetry Foundation.